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Report on Kilauea (United States) — 8 October-14 October 2008

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 October-14 October 2008
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2008. Report on Kilauea (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 8 October-14 October 2008. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (8 October-14 October 2008)


Kilauea

United States

19.421°N, 155.287°W; summit elev. 1222 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


HVO reported that during 8-14 October lava flowed SE through a tube system from underneath Kilauea's Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) and rootless shield complex, reaching the Waikupanaha ocean entry. Multiple lava breakouts, including a small 'a'a flow E of the Royal Gardens subdivision, and points of incandescence on the pali were noted. The sulfur dioxide emission rate at Pu'u 'O'o was 1,400 tonnes per day on 12 October, below the background rate since early 2005. Explosions at the ocean entry were reported on 13 October.

During the reporting period, Kilauea earthquakes were variously located beneath and to the S of the caldera, and along the S-flank faults. Beneath Halema'uma'u crater earthquakes ranged from 40 per day to more than 80 (background is about 40), but were too small to be located more precisely. The vent in Halema'uma'u crater continued to produce a predominantly white plume, which was occasionally tinged brown in association with small local earthquakes, that drifted mainly SW and S. Night-time incandescence was intermittently seen at the base of the plume. An explosion on 12 October produced pulsating ash-rich clouds with pulses of incandescent gas and tephra. Significant tephra deposits included frothy ejecta up to fist and grapefruit sizes. In a video of the eruption, incandescence in the plume appears to be well above the level of the crater rim (about 70 m above the vent). The sulfur dioxide emission rate was 1,200 tonnes per day on 10 October. The 2003-2007 rate average was 140 tonnes per day.

Geologic Background. Kilauea, which overlaps the E flank of the massive Mauna Loa shield volcano, has been Hawaii's most active volcano during historical time. Eruptions are prominent in Polynesian legends; written documentation extending back to only 1820 records frequent summit and flank lava flow eruptions that were interspersed with periods of long-term lava lake activity that lasted until 1924 at Halemaumau crater, within the summit caldera. The 3 x 5 km caldera was formed in several stages about 1500 years ago and during the 18th century; eruptions have also originated from the lengthy East and SW rift zones, which extend to the sea on both sides of the volcano. About 90% of the surface of the basaltic shield volcano is formed of lava flows less than about 1100 years old; 70% of the volcano's surface is younger than 600 years. A long-term eruption from the East rift zone that began in 1983 has produced lava flows covering more than 100 km2, destroying nearly 200 houses and adding new coastline to the island.

Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)